USDA/ARS and Purdue
University biotechnologists bolster tomato lycopene levels
August 26, 2002
Tomatoes richer in the
antioxidant lycopene have been developed by ARS and
biotechnologists. A serving of one to two of the high-tech
tomatoes provides the 10 milligrams of lycopene that some
nutritionists recommend we consume daily. In contrast, about 10
or more conventional tomatoes are needed to provide this same
quantity of lycopene.
Researchers found that genetically engineering tomatoes to boost
levels of naturally occurring compounds called polyamines
increased the tomatoes’ lycopene levels.
Their work, published in the June
2002 issue of Nature
Biotechnology (vol. 20, no. 6, pp. 613-618), is the first to
show a link between high levels of polyamines and enhanced
The researchers are seeking industry partners to commercialize
the new tomatoes.
For more information, contact
Autar K. Mattoo,
(301) 504-7380, USDA-ARS
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